ICO reveal cookie sweep findings - DAC Beachcroft

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ICO reveal cookie sweep findings

Published 17 February 2015

ICO recently lead an international study in partnership with WP29 and other national regulators into the use of cookies. The study took place between the 15th and 19th of September 2014.

The investigation has revealed that UK websites place more cookies than any other surveyed country.  However they also give the most information on what cookies are placed and how they are used.

It was further noted that cookies tend to outlive their requirements and whilst the average cookie is set to terminate within one to two years, some cookies were not set to expire until 7,984 years had passed!

ICO commented that “There’s also clearly an issue with the lifespan of some of these cookies. Developers must consider the implications of using certain settings in their code. Setting a long expiry on a cookie means that it will not only outlive the usefulness of the device, but also the person using it at the time. While the length of time a cookie needs to remain on a device will depend on the reason why it was originally set, it is difficult to justify an expiry date in the year 9999 for even the most innocent of purposes".

To view the ICOs press release, please click here.

To view WP29 full report, please click here.

What action could be taken to manage risks that may arise from this development?

Financial services companies should be aware that the UK (together with the other EU member states) remains under the spotlight in respect of its use of cookies and therefore companies should ensure that they continue to comply with PECR requirements when setting cookies.

In particular, companies should review the periods of time for which cookies are set to ensure they are proportionate to the purpose.


Hans Allnutt

Hans Allnutt

London - Walbrook

+44 (0) 20 7894 6925

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